Childrearing

8-Year-Old Suspended for Wearing the Wrong Color Shirt to School

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(Photo: Fox29)

Dress codes keep winding up in the news for being absurd or sexist or arbitrary or shaming, but this latest story from southern New Jersey is so ridiculous it seems like it should be a false flag dress code story planted to undermine the very concept of dress codes, because an 8-year-old girl was actually suspended from school for wearing a green shirt that was slightly the wrong shade of green.

According to The Associated Press, Winslow Township Elementary School No. 4 has a dress code that says children’s shirts can only be white, dark green, or navy. Last week on Monday 8-year-old twins Kylie and Karlie both went to school wearing green shirts, but Kylie’s shirt was not dark enough, and she was suspended for one school day.

That’s the twins and their shirts up there. Kylie is on the left, Karlie is on the right. Man, I definitely would have run afoul of that “dark green” dress code when I was in school. How dark is dark? How do you ever know? I once got in trouble in school for wearing turquoise instead of blue on “Red, White & Blue” day, which sent my neurotic mother into an existential doubt spiral about whether turquoise was blue, and what that meant for her eye color and jewelry collection and if her whole life had been a lie. Me? I was just mildly embarrassed to have been draped in patriotic bunting by the Social Studies teacher for the whole day, but I was pleased to get out of the kerfuffle without a detention. But I was 13, and Kylie is 8. And nobody in my case would have thought that suspension was a reasonable response to what was clearly an innocent mistake with the dress code.

“I got suspended for wearing the different color they wanted me to wear,” said Kylie. “The principal told me that I don’t have to stay here and I could leave.”

Kylie is not the first child to be suspended for wearing the wrong shade of an allowed shirt color. Another boy was reportedly suspended last week for wearing a blue shirt that was not quite navy.

This is pretty ridiculous. It does not make sense to suspend small children who were obviously not trying to break the dress code. If the school wants to make a rule about what shades of green are acceptable, it should make it easier for parents and students to tell what “dark green” means, specifically, so that their kids don’t accidentally get suspended for it. Of course, some other parents say they are in favor of the zero-tolerance policy against emerald green.

“I mean, if you start letting certain things slide, then you have to let a lot of things slide, and then everyone is pretty much wearing what they want to wear,” said Dolores Umbridge the mother of another child at the school whose son has not yet run afoul of the shirt color rule.